FGW train stranded at Pewsey

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by tony6499, 4 Aug 2013.

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  1. VP185

    VP185 Member

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    These incidents will always happen. I will always remember this one http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/norfolk/8210158.stm

    But this is where privatisation falls totally flat on its face. In BR days this type of incident would have been dealt with by a handful of people. In today's world, there's numerous companies involved, numerous people and a huge chain of command requiring someone to authorise every single move at every single stage.
     
  2. KA4C

    KA4C Member

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    Where did I say i was making excuses for FGW?
     
  3. D6975

    D6975 Established Member

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    A previous post asked why the rear PC could not have been left before the assisting loco arrived. The PC would have then been on its own.
     
  4. TBY-Paul

    TBY-Paul Member

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    Could you elaborate? Would it be "on it's own", would the fitter stay will the unit? Is that allowed? Would signaller's put things in place to keep the area safe? To say it would be "on it's own" doesn't indicate why that would be a problem or if it is a problem??
     
  5. 1e10

    1e10 Member

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    Forgive me if this is a stupid question.

    Wouldn't a signal alone keep the train safe? No others trains wpuld be given the green to enter onto that section of track until the unit was removed surely?
     
  6. VP185

    VP185 Member

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    There is NO provision in the rulebook for leaving failed vehicles on a running line.

    You can only leave a vehicle in the section if the train has become divided and you can not recouple it, or as part of a shunting movement.
     
  7. Tomnick

    Tomnick Established Member

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    As I said somewhere upthread, there certainly used to be provision to leave a portion of the train behind (protected by detonators) if the whole lot couldn't proceed. Nowadays, having finally dug out the relevant bit of the Rule Book, it's only described in the context of an accidental division - detonators either side of the (secured!) rear portion, signalman advised and (on a TCB line) tail lamp attached to the rear of the front portion. Can't really see a problem with applying that in this case!
     
  8. A-driver

    A-driver Established Member

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    Sorry to duplicate posts but there is a very similar thread running in which I posted about why these delays can occur. It's slightly out of context but took so long to type that I'm not going to re wording but just copy and paste it. Hope it explains and describes how these situations can happen and why evacuating the trains isn't the best option.

    Quote below...


    I'm in no way defending the six hours, that is unacceptable and will be seriously looked into but you could make all the plans you want and rehearse disruption procedures over and over and still end up with a situation where passengers are stuck on a train for six hours. It just depends on what happens, where you are, what the exact circumstances are etc.

    There are procedures in place so making plans like has been suggested has already been done. It's just that those plans can't be applied all the time.

    Lets take an incident like this one or Kentish town etc when a failed train ends up being stranded for a considerable time with passengers on.

    Quite simply the incident occurs and is no more serious than any other train fault. The driver will report the faut to the box, try the obvious to rectify it and then speak to the fitters. They will then ask the driver to try a few things. Delay may have reached 30mins by now but they certain wont be contemplating turfing people off of the train in the middle of nowhere.

    They will then need to send a fitter or RSI to the train as they will be able to get a better idea from the train than over the phone. This could be another hour for them to arrive. They still aren't going to consider walking people up the track as it is very dangerous and to be done properly needs additional staff to be sent there. (By the way, the live rail isn't a major danger in evacuation-it can be isolated easily. It's everything else that is dangerous and I'm not talking 125mph trains squashing you, I'm talking minor injuries from tripping on debris, slipping on ballast which is very very hard to walk on in boots let alone trainers/flip flops, high heels etc, tripping in cables, slipping on wooden sleepers etc and then you end up with half a dozen sprained and broken ankles who can no longer continue walking to the nearest access point and that's not going into the people on the train who are unable to walk on ballast to start with!)

    Fitter arrives and has a look around and comes up with a possible fix. Tries this as if it works it will still be quicker than evacuating th e train. As the fitter starts work we could be a couple of hours into the delay. The fitter will need time to do the work. They may need lines blocked, electric supplies switched off, train systems shut down etc to make it safe to do the work. This all takes time. The signaller may say that they can only have the block in 15mins once a train has passed and that the current isolation will be 30mins as they need to get all the electric trains in the area into stations - you can't just switch off a few meters of electric supply in these situations, you are possibly looking at a number of miles being isolated).

    Fitter finally starts work after almost 3 hours and it takes 30mins to do the work. They try it and it doesn't work. Fitter now tries something different so we now have to go through the above paragraph all over again.

    At no point during all this is it going to be better to throw in the towel and walk people up the line for the reasons I and others have explained. They will only do this once the fitter/RSI finally decides that they can't do anything at that point. But they will constantly try different things to get it going until they can finally diagnose and fix the exact fault.

    After they have fixed it 6 hours have passed and everyone suddenly becomes an expert saying "why didn't you try that risk then" and "this is totally unacceptable".

    It's a no win situation. If they got everyone off the train after 3 hours and then the fitter arrived and said "yeah, just need to push this button and it will fix it" then they will get equally negative press for forcing people to drag all their luggage, babies, dogs, buggies, old or disabled people, drunks, those with flimsy footwear e etc over what is basically a constant scree slope with numerous trip hazards, slip hazards, dangerous objects (the amount of rubbish including used syringes, dog muck etc which litters the railways is quite amazing).

    And then when they got them to the access point they would have a long wait for busses to arrive and then people would complain "they should have left us on the train as at least we could sit down there and it had aircon and toilets".

    As for simply transferring people onto another train parked adjacent-sadly not that simple. If it were then they wound certainly do it. Too many factors to consider-for a start as said above to do that they may have to stop all work fixing the train which may be the quicker option as they would have to lift any blocks and re-energise and electrical systems if an electric train. Then you need to consider that tracks aren't always close together-they seem close when passing by but can have a big gap between which certainly couldn't be jumped by people (not safely anyway) and wouldn't be easy to bridge without rigging up ladders etc which would ideally need the fire service to assist with.

    Sorry for the long post and I hope it makes sense and explains the problems here. No delay is intentional and they don't just say "screw the passengers, lets not rush this one", the issue is that its very easy to look back after a big delay and see what went wrong but almost impossible to see what is going to cause the biggest delay at the time.
     
  9. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    I think I see what you mean.


    To answer this post - one assumes it would be like any other failed light engine, protected by signals? In any case, splitting the train wouldn't be the number one suggestion. Trying to move the whole lot was tried first. By which time, the 59 was being mobilised anyway!!!!
     
  10. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Established Member

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    Where was the Power Car dragged to, Westbury ? or was there a suitable siding/loop. If it was dragged by 59202 with it's brakes hard on it would have a full set of wheel flats which in turn would not do the track any good.
    Perhaps there should be a national policy with guidelines as to what to do for the benefit of passengers in cases such as this. Something that needs to be done quickly in view of the recent incident on the Cotswold line and not a long drawn review taking several years as they often do,
     
  11. A-driver

    A-driver Established Member

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    There are policies already! But read my (rather long) post which explains why this can happen even with huge numbers of policies and systems in place!

    As for a dragging parking brake, its not powerful enough to prevent the wheels turning completely, they would turn but rub against the brakes causing them to get very hot. There are procedures for that which include speed limits and cooling off periods but they may have just used wheel skates instead. Depends on the situation really. It wouldn't just grind the bottom of the wheels down as you are imagining.
     
  12. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    Going back to this point... if this is true, it's very alarming, as ISTR a passcom activation led to the circumstances of the brake failure in the recent Cotswold Line incident? Uncanny similarity! Though correct me if I'm wrong...
     
  13. Geargrinder

    Geargrinder Member

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    I think A driver's earlier long post says it all doesn't it ? Its called reality which isn't perfect unfortunately. FGW have apologised and will compensate those affected. If you were stuck on a motorway in your car you wouldnt get anything .
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2013
  14. Arglwydd Golau

    Arglwydd Golau Established Member

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    A couple of years ago I was travelling from Dublin to Belfast on an 'Enterprise' service which ground to a halt just north of Newry (or Portadown, I forget which)..anyway, to cut a long story short, with commendable speed, a unit came from the north, drew up alongside and passengers were directed from one train to another using the ramp available for people with a disability. This operation was well supervised by IE staff.
    The relief amongst the passengers was palpable, everyone was happy that the delay was short and that IE had acted efficiently and effectively to minimise delay.
    I'm not in any way saying that this solution could have been possible in the situation at Pewsey...But I wonder whether FGW/NR did think about it? Six hours sat on an immovable train doesn't bear thinking about!
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2013
  15. A-driver

    A-driver Established Member

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    Very true. People have had to spend the night in their cars stranded on motorways in bad weather in recent years. That is worse than spending 6 hours on a partially powered train. I know people have spent the night on trains in the past in snow but they are compensated by the TOC. As far as I know, motorists aren't.
     
  16. A-driver

    A-driver Established Member

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    Yes, they would have thought about it. But it would have been weighed up as an option and decided to be unfavourable for reasons I have described. It's not as easy as it sounds, its not the safest thing to do and may not even be possible depending on distances between lines, loading of the train, ratio of crew/competent people etc.
     
  17. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus Established Member

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    Why are you surprised about this? They don't care abou the B&H let alone have rescue locos!
     
  18. LateThanNever

    LateThanNever Member

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    No you wouldn't get anything but at least Green Flag or whoever would get you home if you broke down! And guarantee to get to you within 20 mins! Also train travel is usually a lot more expensive than car travel. If your'e going from Penzance to London the train is slower too.
     
  19. KA4C

    KA4C Member

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    Agreed
     
  20. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

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    You make some good points. And I think the people best able to make decisions are generally those 'on the ground'.

    The decision whether to evacuate or not will always be a complex one: no aircon on a hot day would be tick in the evacuate column, but working aircon would mean a cross in the evacuate problem. (Bearing in mind that on a hot and sunny day, moving passengers into a place where there's no shade might only exacerbate the problem.)

    Those of us not in the industry don't understand the decision-making process and the relative parts that TOC and Network Rail play. Sadly, what the Kentish Town incident showed was that it appeared there were senior members of management who didn't appear to understand it either.

    The ATOC good practice guide I referred to upthread makes interesting reading. It would be interesting to know how much of that good practice makes it into the TOC's operating procedures and training for staff.

    Of particular note to this incident are the following suggested actions by the TOC control in the checklist included in the guide:

    This guidance suggests that the TOC should start preparing for a possible train evacuation and/or the delivery of fresh supplies of food & water much earlier in the process - even if it proves eventually not to be required. I think it's fair to ask the hard questions of FGW as to why this appears not to have happened.

    In the Kentish Town incident, the RAIB noted that FCC concentrated solely on one solution (sending an assisting unit) and didn't appear to consider any alternative rescue options. Again, I think it's fair to ask FGW why it doesn't appear to have learned from its sister company.
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2013
  21. 1e10

    1e10 Member

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  22. A-driver

    A-driver Established Member

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    I don't doubt that this is true at all but would question wha tis wrong with it?

    For a start they were outside the train trying to fix it and there would definately have been a lot of hanging around like I described-waiting for blocks, waiting for RSIs to phone them with info etc so what wrong with having a smoke whilst waiting?

    Just the DM attempting to paint them as being lazy, incompetent and uncaring where as it was probably very much thee opposite.

    When my train failed and we were trying various things there were times when I was stood outside waiting for things (I don't smoke but if I did I may have had one), I was drinking my tea though - cant see any harm in it. The passengers may have been on the train for 6 hours but if its approaching the end of a 9 and a half hour drivers shift then they may have been at work for up to 14 hours by the end of it!
     
  23. Tomnick

    Tomnick Established Member

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  24. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

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    The video clip in the DM article is the first of six uploaded by the same person. In the second clip, the man speaking to the passengers (who appears to be an off-duty member of staff who happened to be travelling) gets a round of applause.

    [youtube]GBMA7MqoPp4[/youtube]
     
  25. CC 72100

    CC 72100 Established Member

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    I saw the original video (the one on the page when you first click on it) and thought that to be fair, the off-duty staff member came across very well on it.
     
  26. KA4C

    KA4C Member

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    That'll be because the "playing choo-choo's bit" as you put it, is generally the best way to deal with passenger welfare, i.e. get the train moving so that they can either get to their destinations or be de-trained.
     
  27. 1e10

    1e10 Member

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    I agree that there is nothing wrong with having a fag. Staff would have been missing out on breaks and probably orking longer hours than usual during the incident.

    I can kind of see how it could be likely to wind up passengers on the train though. As there is no smoking onboard a train a passenger may get wound up by the fact that staff can jump off to have a cigarette whilst passengers are stuck on a train for six hours without.

    The guy in the video is very helpful and shows that FGW staff really do care about the passengers that use their services. He does seem to have to address a few disgruntled customers in the video who are wanting answers from him as to why this isn't being sorted in a more convenient manner which is slightly unfair, as he explains he is just a passenger on the service too!
     
  28. Arglwydd Golau

    Arglwydd Golau Established Member

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    Thanks for your comment, I realise that there might be far too many problems with such a course of action including those that you have stated...in fact, I was very surprised that they did this transfer in Ireland, and wondered at the time whether it was peculiar to Ireland and if it would even be considered in the UK.
     
  29. A-driver

    A-driver Established Member

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    I'm sure in Ireland they did exactly the same and weighed it up but decided on a different course of action. Perhaps Ireland got it right on that occasion and FGW got it wrong yesterday but that's easy to say after the event. It's very different at the time.

    As I say, any idiot can be a critic after the event and suddenly everyone is an expert on what should have happened. It's very different dealing with events as they unfold at the time though.
     
  30. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    I've just listened to Mark Hopwood's interview on R4 this morning.
    While I'm sure he will get to the bottom of the problems, he wasn't offering a blank cheque to those on the train, beyond a refund.
    "That sort of thing would normally be covered by insurance" he said, and "We will look at compensation on a case by case basis".
    I wouldn't fancy being in his next management meeting.
     
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